Humorously Yours season 2 review: TVF takes unexpected detour but manages to present an engaging affair
Season 2 of Humorously Yours focuses more on Vipul and Rasika's sweet relationship but fails to provide insights into India's current comedy scene.
Season 1 of The Viral Fever's (TVF) Humorously Yours borrowed heavily from reality when it traced the rise of Vipul Goyal, a stand-up comic who breaks into the Mumbai comedy circuit. The show provided insights into the nitty-gritties of the comedy business and featured cameos by possibly every comedian of the town.
But season 2 takes a deviation by distancing Vipul's life from the industry and limits the scope to his family. He is no longer projected as a struggler but as someone who has risen above the initial grill that one has to undergo in order to reach the nucleus of an industry. He is shown to be in phase 2 of his career, where the challenge at hand is not to discover his voice or establish his USP among other comedians. The challenge here is to take time out for family and strike that balance between professional growth and personal development.
The shift in focus naturally results in pros and cons. A deep dive into the relationship between Vipul and his wife Kavya (Rasika Dugal) pays rich dividend, mostly because of the charm they rub off each other. Writers Anand Singh, Chandan Kumar and Vipul give the two characters the best lines of the show that also aptly reflect the bittersweet relationship they share with each other three years into their marriage.
Rasika is the best actor of the lot. She hits the right note in every scene and with every expression. If her performance is the cinematic equivalent of a stand-up special, she is sure to crack up the audience after every line. Vipul, once again, uses his earnestness and conviction to play himself as a likeable protagonist. His character does falter but the instances of misfiring are too Saif Ali Khan-in-Hum Tum to seem fresh. The temptation to sleep with a school crush and inability to remember relationship milestones are not exactly new-age issues.
But Rasika responds to these typical men problems with a pinch of salt (and hot sauce when required) and never goes overboard with her reactions. This helps the tone to remain light and not at the cost of Rasika's character being depicted as a pushover wife. The writers round up her arc through Vipul's confession to her that the audience can experience a comedian at his best only because his wife can take him at his worst (watch Rasika's heartbreaking reaction in this scene).
There might be doubt about Vipul's versatility but he does a decent job at demonstrating himself, at least the parts he wants the audience to be exposed to. However, this strategically selective exhibition of his personality runs parallel to that of the comic industry as a whole. The first season made its presence felt because it was a time capsule of the Indian comedian microcosm. But the second season, by changing its stakes and span, comes across more as the third season of Netflix's Little Things. The first three episodes (and there are only four in season 2) mostly revolve around Kavya and Vipul's marriage vows, though it also involves a hilarious fight over who looks over an AC repair guy.
The dark horse of season 1, Ranjit Walia, the non-existent manager of Vipul whose voice he impersonates to bluff the world, is eliminated in the first episode itself. He is replaced by a new manager, Vipul's school junior Punit Lamba (Sahil Verma). Verma does a decent and is occasionally hilarious. For example: A scene where Vipul tells him that a manager's job is to not only sell tickets but also ensure that the venue gets full, to which Lamba responds that a comedian's job is to not only make people laugh but also enjoy a laugh themselves. Abhishek Banerjee reprises his role of Bhushi, arguably the most annoying character across all streaming platforms. He is given less meat in season 2 and ends up making sane people laugh only in a few scenes; like when he repeatedly listens to a voice note from his childhood's crush abusing him. The best addition to the cast is Jeetendra Kumar, aka Jeetu Bhaiya from TVF's Kota Factory, who steals the show in the two scenes he is in, as a wannabe radio jockey. His comic timing is impeccable and would make the audience want to see more exchanges between him and Vipul.
Director Deepak Kumar Mishra leads a pack of technicians who know their job well enough to sustain an engaging show. But they are driven by the unambitious drive of the show, which does not want to make too much noise about the professional realm it so proudly boasted of associating with in season 1. This disassociation could stem from the fact that the comedy circuit has undergone a drastic makeover since season 1. The #MeToo Movement in the country led to All India Bakchod almost shutting shop and various other comedians being called out for forwarding sexist ideologies directly or indirectly. TVF could have possibly reflected the times through their show like it did in season 1. But given the current climate, it may have just amounted to hitting a raw nerve.
The new direction works partially though, thanks to the nostalgic finale episode Back To College and the class act of a leading lady meant for so much more.
All images from Twitter.
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